Roll Call 2011

Posted: 2/11/2011 8:18:41 AM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

Guys - This thread is set up by the proprietors as a place for newbies to introduce themselves.

As you know, there is a twenty-six post limit to each topic. This is not the place to ask questions and have a protracted discussion about them. You are free to start a new thread to do so. - Thanks
Posted: 3/6/2011 6:17:14 PM

From: Finland

Joined: 12/28/2010

Hello everyone!

My theremin journey has now lasted seven months, and i thought that now would be time to post something here!
Last summer, surfing around in YouTube i guess, i happened to found this exciting instrument. Thanks to the summer job i got, i could afford to buy a Moog Theremin.
Now after seven months, i don't regret this decision. My sense of pitch has increased somewhat, and i can play things by ear a bit easier. Thanks to Clara's repertoire, classical music has also become a part of my taste of music. Thought I'm still struggling to play even the easiest pieces, i hope i'll acquire some skills during the years.

And of course, i've posted a video of myself playing ! (

-Greetings from Finland
Posted: 3/7/2011 8:39:37 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

Hi Levizion,

I watched your video of the BACHIANAS this morning, before I read your post to Theremin World, and I was very impressed with it. Not bad after only 7 months! I have some suggestions for you which you can take or leave.

1. The BACHIANAS is a difficult composition to play on the theremin. Teachers of traditional instruments always insist that their students NOT attempt to play pieces that are too difficult for their individual level of accomplishment because it tends to reinforce bad habits rather than cultivating good ones. Personally, I would prefer to hear you play a very simple piece perfectly, rather than a massively difficult piece that may be a little beyond your technical ability to play accurately.

2. The technique you are using to play is the "swinging door" method. This is a technique in which all four fingers open and close as a single unit rather than "fanning" with the 5th finger (the little finger) leading the way which is what we see Clara Rockmore doing. This makes intonation more difficult because it does not distribute the task of locating the note. Your fingers are locked, and operating as a single block all the time. I suggest that you carefully study Clara's videos and learn to "fan" your fingers so each one can operate independently. Get yourself a small 5 string kantele and practice picking the strings in different rhythms and configurations. It's lots of fun, and it will help you to develop a manual skill you can transfer to the theremin.

3. One of the problems with playing along with a CD of someone else's finished version of a composition is that it tends to highlight pitch inconsistencies. Your accompaniment is not enhancing your performance. On the contrary, your playing is masking a performance that is vastly superior to your own (something you already noted in your description). This can only serve to emphasize your shortcomings! As thereminists, we have only our ears to tell us where we are in relation to the correct pitch. If we are playing along with a recording where another soloist is already hitting the same note we are aiming for, it can confuse the ear. In your case, you are hearing Branford at the same time you are trying to hear yourself, and your ear has to sort out who's who in the space of a millisecond. Playing the theremin is already difficult enough without that.

You're doing really well, and I am surprised that your version of the piece is good as it is. It's difficult learning to play the theremin in a vacuum but that is what most of us have had to do. I hope you do not feel discouraged by any of my remarks, and that they will be of some value to you on your theremin journey.

Posted: 3/7/2011 10:37:44 AM

From: Finland

Joined: 12/28/2010

Many thanks to you coalport!

All the points you made are totally correct. This piece is far too much difficult for me to perform well.
As for technique, i've been trying all kinds of fingering techniques i've seen. Now I might just have some sort of a mashup, which really might not work in the long run. I surely have to watch clips of Clara playing more closely, and try to learn the same exact technique.

Thanks for wise words, I'll see what I can come up with during the next weeks.

Posted: 3/9/2011 9:06:55 PM

From: Small town Missouri on Rt 66

Joined: 2/27/2011

Hello, all!!!!!!!!!!
My name is Rob and I've been an electronics enthusiast (OK, nerd) all my life, and began playing guitar at age 11. I'm in my mid 50's now.
My 60's vintage Kustom Theremin was a gift from a friend when his father passed away (along with about 700 vacuum tubes and such).
I've been noodling with it for about ten years, but recently decided to get serious.
Posted: 3/22/2011 1:42:01 PM

From: Flying with the Phoenix

Joined: 3/9/2011

My first time on a message board, so it will take a while to get used to. I bought a b-3 at the start of the year and was HOOKED on the Theremin. Have since designed and built a "SewerPipe" theremin.
I used PAiA electronics on the inside. I recommend that building your own Theremin is most rewarding, there is something about handling each piece makes the expressions in playing it special. Will see how this post goes, for me. SewerPipe
Posted: 3/23/2011 6:05:18 PM

From: Clinton, CT

Joined: 3/23/2011

Mark from CT. here.
First theremin (Moog Etherwave) arrived today. Looking forward to the adventure ahead.
I am a blues harmonicist that dabbles a little with the guitar. I am hoping to use the theremin as a solo instrument in blues music. If I can get the grasp of it.
I have, for whatever reason,always been fascinated by this instrument.
I've only spent about a half hour with it so far, so I don't really have a clue how this will turn out...wish me luck!!
Posted: 3/24/2011 7:19:03 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

I wish you the best of luck with your attempts to use the theremin in a "Blues" context. You are not the first person to try it, but you may be the first to succeed.

The theremin has certain musical styles and idioms that it fits into quite comfortably, and then there are others where it just doesn't seem to belong. Many of us, for example, have tried to use the theremin in country music but most people agree it doesn't work. It's novel and fun to hear the theremin play STAND BY YOUR MAN but it ain't Tammy Wynette! For what it's worth, the French horn and the oboe don't seem to belong in country music either.

It often seems like the theremin ought to work in some particular style - such as the classical music of India - but so far no one has been able to demonstrate that it does.

One of the problems with trying to fit the theremin into the Blues is that the theremin can't wail. When it tries, it sounds more like an air raid siren than like Bessie Smith. If you're not satisfied with your first efforts, DON'T GIVE UP. Perhaps with your knowledge of the Blues you can make this work. Remember the old Clara Rockmore axiom; LESS IS MORE. A little bit of theremin, understated and restrained, can be quite tasty. Too much can quickly lead to sonic indigestion.

Memphis Minnie meets Gort!
Posted: 4/16/2011 5:50:28 AM

From: Sweden

Joined: 10/28/2010

Hi there! David from Sweden here and I've always been a huge fan of the Theremin and just registered myself to the forums. Just bought myself my first Theremin and trying to learn to play to use it on my upcomin' album... not as easy as I thought. :-)

How hard is it to find a really old vintage theremin? Would love to get my hands on one even if the one I bought is pretty amazing.
Posted: 4/16/2011 7:17:12 AM

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

Hey David!
Nice to have you here on this board :) I started to play the Theremin 3 months ago - and like you, I wanted to add its sound to the music I make. It's a fun journey!!!

Enjoy it :)

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